Installing French Doors

 

French doors beautifully enrich the exterior and interior areas of your home, which has made them the popular choice for master bedrooms, home offices, patios and more. They can provide a much wider closure than traditional doors, while adding a bit of flare to the room. These doors can bring a light, airy feeling to a room with their elegantly transparent nature—and can also be a source of natural lighting while providing a beautiful view outdoors.

Whether you want to enhance a room with natural lighting, create a doorway with a bit more space or add some tasteful décor to your home, French doors can do the trick! However, there are some tips you should know if you’re going to install your own set—so take a look at our advice for installing French doors below.

 

French Door Choices

No one wants new décor that’ll stick out like a sore thumb—your doors and hardware need a look that’s in-line with your home! Keep the following attributes in mind before making your final selection:

  • Type of window glass openings—individual panes with separate dividers or a single pane of glass with a divider grid, or all glass with no dividers
  • Type of glass—tempered, insulated, frosted, textured, decorative, resin
  • Type of hardware—door handles, knobs, other pieces
  • Type of door material—wood, PVC, aluminum, steel and other combinations of materials
  • Color—wood grain, white or other paint colors
  • Size—standard or custom made to size

Traditionally, the most common type of French door is the model with divided glass panes, although French door manufacturers offer more than the standard door-opening sizes. Have a peculiar area that may not fit the standard dimensions? Not to worry—manufacturers offer custom-made designs to fit those tricky, off-sized openings, which can occur in older homes and with peculiarly sized walls and spaces.

 

French Door Closure

French doors can be designed to allow both doors to open, or one side can be static, which leaves a remaining side for opening and closing. Most French doors open outward and close toward one another.

When considering door closure and security, select a door that has a locking mechanism that locks the door to the head jamb and the sill, rather than simply locking both sides of the doors together. French doors need to be anchored at the head jamb—the doors can wobble, make noise and are harder to close and remain stable if improperly fastened.

 

Installation

Installing French doors isn’t the easiest of tasks but the right instructions and tools can make the installation go smoothly! Before beginning installation, make sure you have the essential materials and tools necessary to install the doors. Materials and tools should include:

  • Pre-made French door kit with frame
  • Wood studs in the right sizes for rough framing
  • Other wood pieces for any shimming
  • Chisel
  • Hammers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Mallets
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Various saws
  • Carpenter square
  • Pry bar
  • All-purpose utility knife
  • Marking pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Level
  • Measuring tape

 

Installation Steps for Interior French Doors

  1. First, remove the old door frame (if there is one). Use a hammer and pry bar to carefully take out the original door frame, trim and molding from around the door.
    *If any expansion of the actual opening is required, you will likely have to remove drywall, studs and other materials before proceeding with rough framing for the new opening.*
  1. Once the old door opening is cleared and expanded, the next step is to rough frame the opening for the new doors, which involves re-framing the opening from scratch with the right sized studs, tools and any associated hardware (saws, nails, nail gun and a framing hammer).
  2. Make sure the final opening is square and use a level and a carpenter’s square to confirm that the space is straight and the right size to contain the new door frame kit.
  3. Install the door jamb/frame from the door kit which should contain all the necessary placements and cutouts for hinges, door knobs/handles, striker plates and other essential hardware.
  4. Once the framing kit is installed, determine whether the French doors will fit within the frame.
  5. Mount the French doors within the frame and secure the hinges. If the doors are straight and correctly placed, then affix screws to the frame, which will permanently secure it.
  6. Test the new doors to make sure they open and close smoothly.
  7. Finally, install any remaining hardware that needs to be placed in position to complete the doors, such as the handles, doorknobs, striker plates and the locking system in the head jamb area and sill.

Replace trim and door molding that has been previously removed or install new finish pieces. If there are any scratches or other flaws on the doors, trim, molding or other areas due to the installation process, use matching paint for concealment and cover.

 

Installing French doors is easy with the right door kit and know-how. Still have some questions about installing French doors? No problem! Our experts have the answers to all of your questions and are here to ensure your home improvements are as seamless and smooth as possible!

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Doug Ashy

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